16th April 2014

Price slump hits B.C. coal miners – by Brent Jang (Globe and Mail – April 16, 2014)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

VANCOUVER — A devastating price slump is hammering British Columbia’s coal sector as a U.S.-based company halts mining in the province while other players face mounting pressure.

Walter Energy Inc. highlighted the troubles Tuesday when it announced its decision to stop B.C. mining until coal prices recover.

Last week Virginia-based James River Coal Co. filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States, underscoring tough times in the global industry.

The coal industry has traditionally been a key driver of B.C.’s economy, with companies generating billions of dollars in revenue every year and employing thousands of workers. Now producers are starting to question the viability of their projects as prices hit new lows.

In 2011, coal prices soared to $300 (U.S.) a tonne. Prices for metallurgical coal have since tumbled to roughly $120 a tonne, hurt by ample new supplies from Australia, slower-than-forecast economic growth in China and a shift away from long-term coal pricing contracts that had provided some stability. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in British Columbia Mining, Canadian/International Media Resource Articles, Coal | 0 Comments

3rd September 2013

Opinion: Taseko seeks path forward for New Prosperity – by Russ Hallbauer (Vancouver Sun – September 2, 2013)

http://www.vancouversun.com/index.html

Misinformation tainted hearings, sowed mistrust

Russ Hallbauer is president and CEO of Taseko Mines Ltd.

The final weeks of the First Nations community hearing sessions of the federal environmental assessment for New Prosperity Gold-Copper Mine witnessed emotional testimony from many Tsilhqot’in and Shuswap First Nations peoples.

The New Prosperity project is located in British Columbia’s Cariboo-Chilcotin region. It proposes to save the culturally sensitive Fish Lake, and it will have a significant positive socio-economic impact on the region, British Columbia and Canada.

The Tsilhqot’in people have a long history and traditional connection to the land throughout their traditional territory, including in the proposed mining area around Fish Lake.

These communities, many with strong family ties, are working to heal some pressing social issues by strengthening awareness of their heritage and traditional practices among their youth as well as more broadly in the general population. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, British Columbia Mining, Canadian/International Media Resource Articles, Mining Conflict | Comments Off

31st July 2013

Toward less of a potash oligopoly – Editorial (Globe and Mail – July 31, 2013)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

The breakup of Belarus Potash Co., one of two international potash cartels, is good news for consumers and farmers across the world, which carries a promise of less expensive fertilizer and (as a result) cheaper food. It is hard to see how BPC’s North American equivalent, Canpotex International Pte. Ltd., the marketing organization shared by Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc., Agrium Inc. and The Mosaic Co., will be able to maintain potash prices at their previous levels. The raison d’être of Canpotex is likely to be in question. Without the quasi-duopoly of Canpotex and BPC, the potash market will be substantially more competitive.

OAO Uralkali, the Russian member of BPC, has accused its former Belarussian partner, Belaruskali, of selling potash outside BPC. Indeed, last December, the dictatorial President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, issued a decree cancelling BPC’s exclusive right to market and export Belarussian potash; maybe Belaruskali was just being obedient.

But Uralkali may have another motive, too; it has the advantage of being able to ship potash directly by rail to China, a country with a great appetite for fertilizer. Uralkali appears to have decided to seek buyers by offering attractive prices, rather than by restricting supply. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Canadian/International Media Resource Articles, Potash/Phosphate, Saskatchewan Mining | Comments Off

26th July 2013

For First Nations, Great Jobs in a Controversial Industry -by Katie Hyslop (The Tyee.ca – July 26, 2013)

http://thetyee.ca/

One organization’s success teaching Aboriginal people mining skills isn’t without complications.

Unemployment for Aboriginal people in the province is twice as high as the rest of British Columbians. But Aboriginal people are defying the employment odds in the province’s mining industry, thanks in part to the BC Aboriginal Training Association (BCAMTA), which provides job training for the mining industry to Aboriginal people in B.C.

In a July 22 press conference in Vancouver, the association released a PricewaterhouseCoopers audit of their practices from their start in January 2010 until March 2013. Results show the organization has registered 1,533 training candidates, 500 of which have successfully achieved employment in their field.

BCAMTA’s work has paid off for the economy, too. CEO Laurie Sterritt says a $6.68-million federal government investment to start the program has translated into a $53.4-million annual contribution to B.C.’s GDP.

“This isn’t a one time boost to the economy: this is an amount that will grow as our employee candidates get salary increases, earn bonus payouts, and move up the ladder to more senior positions,” she said. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, British Columbia Mining, Canadian/International Media Resource Articles | Comments Off

26th July 2013

SA seventh-largest iron-ore producer – by Yolandi Booyens (MiningWeekly.com – July 26, 2013)

http://www.miningweekly.com/page/americas-home

South Africa’s position as the number three supplier of iron-ore to China emphasises the strategic importance of iron-ore deposits in the country and its importance as a significant iron-ore contributor worldwide, says minerals adviser Venmyn Deloitte MD Andy Clay.

He adds that this is testimony to the rapid historical development of South Africa’s iron-ore mines, in conjunction with the South African government’s infrastructure development.

South Africa is the seventh-largest producer of iron-ore and has also traditionally been the fourth-largest exporter worldwide. The country increased the percentage of iron it exports because of the suspension of mine operations in Goa, India, in September 2012 , owing to contraventions in terms of mining without licences or beyond licensed areas.

As a result, the global demand that Goa’s iron-ore mining operations used to meet can now be met by South Africa, in addition to other producers, such as Australia. “One of the factors that enables South Africa to export so much ore is the efficient Sishen iron-ore rail line,” notes Clay.

Opened in 1947, the Sishen mine is iron-ore supplier Kumba’s flagship operation and one of the largest openpit mines in the world. It has sufficient resources to sustain 21 years of production. It operates 24/7 and, in 2011, it transported 38.9-million tons of iron-ore. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Africa Mining, Canadian/International Media Resource Articles, Iron Ore | Comments Off

26th July 2013

Agnico’s spending cuts won’t affect Quebec mines – by Robert Gibbens (Montreal Gazette – July 25, 2013)

http://www.montrealgazette.com/index.html

The three Quebec gold mines of Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. will probably escape the $250 million in spending cuts the company plans this year and next to offset sagging bullion and base metals income.

Agnico Eagle, which started producing gold north of Val d’Or in 1988 with the launch of its rich LaRonde mine, has since become an international company with operations in northwestern Canada, Finland and Mexico. It targets overall annual output of 1.2 million ounces within three years.

It had planned to invest $600 million U.S. a year on mine development, but with gold down to about $1,350 an ounce from a peak of almost $2,000 and co-products silver and zinc depressed, Agnico Eagle has cut that number to $400 million.

Most of the savings will come from delays in exploration and mine construction activity outside Quebec, CEO Sean Boyd told analysts Thursday. Year-end completion of a new cooling and ventilation system will boost output from LaRonde’s deep higher-grade reserves next year and the mine will produce 300,000 ounces a year for a long time yet. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Canadian/International Media Resource Articles, Gold and Silver, Quebec Mining | Comments Off

26th July 2013

Seeing Upside in Iron-Ore Miners – by Diana Kinch (Wall Street Journal – July 25, 2013)

http://online.wsj.com/home-page

Some Investors Say Stocks Have Fallen Too Far, and News Isn’t All Bad

LONDON—Mining stocks are among the worst performers this year, with those exposed to iron ore down sharply amid concerns about overcapacity and sluggish demand from China. But some investors believe the rout could be overdone, with share prices of miners falling much further than market prices for iron ore.

“Right now, we’re moving into the low and everyone’s twitchy; the market’s focused on the third quarter, when we’ll have shutdowns in the Chinese steel industry and a seasonal downwards [move],” said Clive Burstow, manager of Barings’ Global Mining Fund, which holds some $15 million in mining stocks.

Capacity to produce iron ore is set to boom in the next few years as expansion programs planned before the financial crisis start to come on stream. By 2018 there will be an extra 419 million tons of capacity, according to estimates compiled from producers’ data, around 40% above 2012′s seaborne traded levels of just over one billion tons.

About half of the new capacity is expected to come on stream by late 2015, including from new projects by Rio Tinto RIO.LN +0.17% PLC and BHP Billiton PLC in Australia, and from Vale SA VALE5.BR -0.31% in Brazil. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in BHP Billiton, Canadian/International Media Resource Articles, Iron Ore, Rio Tinto, Vale | Comments Off

26th July 2013

Akin to railroads of the 1880s, oil pipelines poised to spur Canadian growth – by Henry Lazenby (MiningWeekly.com – July 26, 2013)

http://www.miningweekly.com/page/americas-home

TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – Canada is expecting a boom in oil production from its prolific Alberta oil sands deposits; however, production from the world’s third-largest proven oil reserves, after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, is hampered by a lack of sufficient transport to markets, resulting in lower prices for Canadian crude.

In much the same way as the transcontinental railroads of the 1880s acted as economic enablers and opened up the Canadian hinterlands of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta to settlement and agriculture, so new oil pipelines transporting crude to coastal refineries and markets, and refined petroleum products back inland, are expected to have an enormous economic impact on Canada, driving economic growth.

Canada is desperately seeking alternative oil transport networks to its inadequate rail infrastructure to boost an industry that last year accounted for C$100-billion in exports of oil and natural gas, Al Monaco, the country’s largest pipeline operator Enbridge’s president and CEO, said at a recent Bloomberg Canada Economic Summit, in Toronto.

“It’s a very exciting time to be in the pipeline business. It’s not too often that you get the supply fundamentals and the demand fundamentals lining up extremely well. So, at this point, you’ve got a producer push of volume that wants to get to market. You’ve also got a market pull,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Canadian/International Media Resource Articles, Oil and Gas Sector-Politics and Image | Comments Off

26th July 2013

Editorial: [British Columbia's] Prosperity’s temerity – by Gwen Preston (Northern Miner – July 24, 2013)

The Northern Miner, first published in 1915, during the Cobalt Silver Rush, is considered Canada’s leading authority on the mining industry. 

I visited Taseko Mines’ Gibraltar mine north of Williams Lake, B.C., in 2008. The company bought the shuttered operation in 1998 and restarted it in 2004. Four expansions later, Gibraltar now employs 700 people, churns out 90 million lb. copper annually and is a major regional economic driver. It’s been a great story for a part of the province that has struggled with mill closures and unemployment.

During that Gibraltar tour, talk kept veering towards the Prosperity project, 175 km south. I remember Taseko president and CEO Russell Hallbauer downplaying the challenges of permitting the new mine. He figured Taseko had earned respect from the locals through Gibraltar and that, combined with a dire need for new economic activity locally, would mean enough support to dial down any voices of discontent.

What Hallbauer could not have predicted was that Prosperity, which happens to sit on lands involved in Canada’s most significant aboriginal land claims court case, would become a rallying cry for almost every anti-mining voice in the province.

Prosperity is a copper-molybdenum porphyry that Taseko wants to open pit mine. There’s a lake beside the deposit — known as Fish Lake, or Teztan Biny — that is one of 13,000 lakes in the Caribou region in the 100- to 150-hectare size range. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, British Columbia Mining, Canadian/International Media Resource Articles, Mining Conflict | Comments Off

26th July 2013

Vale sweetens pot in push to finish Long Harbour (CBC News Newfoundland – July 24, 2013)

http://www.cbc.ca/nl/

Vale is putting on a big push to finish the nickel processing facility in Long Harbour, pledging more cash to workers if they meet revised targets. The company says the project is 90 per cent completed, but finishing the job has been a challenge.

The processing facility is behind schedule. It was supposed to be commissioned by the end of June. The new target is Oct. 31.

Vale spokesman Bob Carter says the project has been plagued by shortages of skilled workers and absenteeism. “Resources that were here, and scheduled to be here, are now moving on to other projects,” Carter said. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Canadian/International Media Resource Articles, Newfoundland and Labrador Mining, Nickel, Vale | Comments Off

26th July 2013

Vale may hire foreign workers to solve Long Harbour crunch (CBC News Newfoundland – July 23, 2013)

http://www.cbc.ca/nl/

Mining giant Vale admits it may have to look outside the country to hire specialized workers to finish its massive nickel processing facility in Newfoundland’s Placentia Bay.

However, Vale says it wants to explore other options first to find such skilled workers as welders and pipefitters for its site at Long Harbour, where the company ultimately intends to process nickel mined at Voisey’s Bay in northern Labrador.

To accomplish that, the company is moving skilled workers from its port site to its main construction site, which the company calls the upper tier. “Because we are short some of those resources, we thought it was best to redirect those resources to the upper tier,” Bob Carter, Vale’s director of corporate affairs, told CBC News. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Canadian/International Media Resource Articles, Newfoundland and Labrador Mining, Nickel, Vale | Comments Off

26th July 2013

Miners pull back on project amid weak commodity prices Vanessa Lu (Toronto Star – July 25, 2013)

The Toronto Star has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on federal and Ontario politics as well as shaping public opinion.

With prices still weak, Canadian miners like Teck and Goldcorp are looking for ways to tighten the purse strings, or delaying projects altogether.

With commodity prices still weak, major Canadian mining companies are looking for ways to tighten their purse strings, and in some cases are delaying costly projects.

Teck Resources has pushed back production plans at a coal mine in British Columbia until demand for metallurgical coal recovers. It also announced a copper mine in Chile has been slowed by environmental permits so construction won’t begin until 2016 at the earliest.

“Teck is adapting to current market conditions,” president and chief executive Donald Lindsay told analysts during a conference call Thursday. “We are prudently deferring projects and capital expenditures.”

Patricia Mohr, vice-president and commodity market specialist at Scotiabank, said long-planned copper production is starting to come on stream, after years of no growth, so the move is affecting prices. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Canada Mining, Canadian/International Media Resource Articles | Comments Off

26th July 2013

Top 10 gold miners: Shaky earnings and more billion dollar write-downs – by Lawrence Williams (Mineweb.com – July 26, 2013)

http://www.mineweb.com/

As the gold majors begin issuing their latest quarterly statements it is becoming apparent how shaky earnings are at current gold prices regardless of the massive writedowns being taken.

LONDON (MINEWEB) – Yesterday we saw World No. 4 gold miner Goldcorp writing $1.96 billion off its asset values during Q2 and World No. 2 Newmont $1.8 billion. This follows on notice of huge writedowns for the year of around $6 billion at Australia’s Newcrest, the World’s No. 6, and a statement from World No. 3, AngloGold Ashanti, that it would be writing its assets down by between $2.2 and 2.6 billion. The other gold majors yet to report will also likely be taking huge writedowns which will significantly impact June quarter financials.

But it’s not the writedowns which are necessarily the most significant factors to be taken into consideration by shareholders and the gold market itself. It is the actual decline in operating profits, and the all-in sustaining cost of production which should be a primary focus. Write-downs are just book adjustments on asset valuations, but the underlying financial health of the companies, and what they can afford to pay out in dividends, depends on ongoing profitability virtually regardless of the kinds of book financial adjustments that are being seen. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Canadian/International Media Resource Articles, Gold and Silver | Comments Off

26th July 2013

AFRICA INVESTMENT-South African platinum fund tempts mine investors – by Jan Harvey (Reuters India – July 25, 2013)

http://in.reuters.com/

LONDON, July 25 (Reuters) – South Africa’s platinum sector, already under pressure from rising costs, labour unrest and falling metal prices, is now facing a rival for investment flows — a major new physical platinum fund with unprecedented levels of demand.

The New Gold Platinum exchange-traded fund (NewPlat) has pulled in more than half a million ounces of metal since its launch three months ago, worth 7.6 billion rand ($780 million) at today’s prices. The fund’s holdings currently total more than 543,000 ounces, a level it took the world’s largest platinum-backed ETF, New York-based ETFS Physical Platinum — which holds 611,847 ounces of metal — more than two years to achieve.

A great deal of investment in NewPlat, analysts say, has come from funds in South Africa choosing to seek exposure to platinum prices directly through the physical metal, effectively delivering a vote of no-confidence in South Africa’s beleaguered mining companies.

While shares in South African platinum producers are felt to be unattractive given the industry’s problems, investors have taken account of threats to supply from the mines, and detected tentative first signs of better times ahead for the European motor industry, which uses a lot of platinum in exhaust systems. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Africa Mining, Canadian/International Media Resource Articles, Chromium/Platinum Group Metals | Comments Off

26th July 2013

Anglo American silicosis claimants turn to South African courts – by Sherilee Lakmidas (Reuters U.K. – July 25, 2013)

http://uk.reuters.com/

JOHANNESBURG – (Reuters) – A British court has thrown out a lawsuit against Anglo American South Africa brought by miners who contracted the deadly lung disease silicosis when they worked in South Africa, saying it did not have jurisdiction to hear the matter.

A lawyer for the 2,336 miners said on Wednesday many of them planned to file papers in the next few days in South Africa seeking damages against the South African unit of the global mining giant.

“Anglo American South Africa believes that the court correctly found that the English court does not have jurisdiction to hear this claim,” said Anglo American spokesman Pranill Ramchander.

Anglo American (AAL.L), which switched its headquarters from Johannesburg to London in 1999, no longer has gold mines in South Africa but the lawyers said its Johannesburg-based unit still had assets of around $15 billion (9 billion pounds).

“Today’s ruling was a pyrrhic victory for Anglo American, which as the largest gold mining company over the past 50 years still has to face compelling claims by thousands of miners affected by dust-related lung diseases,” said Richard Meeran of Leigh Day, which is representing the miners. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Africa Mining, Canadian/International Media Resource Articles, Mining Labour Issues and History - Sudbury and Global, Mining Tragedies | Comments Off

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